MK Dons put an end to their winless run with a dramatic – but deserved - 3-2 victory over Accrington Stanley at Stadium MK.
Cameron Jerome scored either side of half-time to give Russell Martin’s men a two-goal lead just before the hour but Accrington quickly levelled the scores through Dion Charles and an Andrew Surman own goal.
The Dons weren’t to be denied, though, and in the second minute of stoppage time Matt O’Riley threw himself at Matthew Sorinola’s cross to secure a valuable three points – three points that lift Martin’s side up to 15th in the Sky Bet League One table and 12 points clear of the bottom four.
Martin name an unchanged starting XI from the midweek defeat to Blackpool, with only one alteration on the bench as Jordan Houghton replaced an injured Charlie Brown.
His side started well and had the first shot of the game through Sorinola, who blazed wide from the edge of the area. Sorinola was involved, again, two minutes later as MK Dons took a sixth-minute lead.
It was the young full-back’s lofted ball forwards which caused trouble for the Accrington defence. Jerome read it well and got behind the backline, before nodding the ball past Toby Savin and then keeping his composure to slot home from a tight angle. 1-0.
Jerome had two quick-fire opportunities to double his tally on the quarter-hour mark. From a Scott Fraser cross, the MK Dons number 35 first had a shot blocked and then a follow-up attempt saved by Savin.
Another chance for Jerome went begging on 20 minutes despite him doing brilliantly to connect with Sorinola’s cross – his header, though, could only find the side netting. Savin then kept out his fierce strike, after he had latched onto Surman’s pass.
Martin’s men maintained their dominance and were presented with a great opportunity to double their lead on 35 minutes but, after intercepting Savin’s pass out from defence, Fraser saw his effort saved by the Accrington goalkeeper.
Fisher was forced into action for the first time with eight minutes remaining in the first half, called upon to dive out of his goal and collect Paul Smyth’s teasing ball in. A vital interception from Josh McEachran then prevented Smyth finding a teammate with a pull-back inside the area.
Accrington had an early opportunity at the start of the second half but Sean McConville volleyed well wide from the edge of the D. Soon after, Surman produced a crucial interception to prevent another threatening attack from developing.
At the other end, a well-worked corner routine provided a chance for Dean Lewington to score but he failed to find the net – not that it would have counted anyway, with the linesman’s flag raised for offside.
O’Riley then showed good feet inside the Stanley box to create a shooting chance but had his left-footed strike blocked. He had another sight of goal a minute later, but couldn’t find the target with his first-time try from Fraser’s cutback.
The Dons knew they needed a second goal to show for their control and with 10 minutes played in the second half, they found it.
Keeping possession well after winning a throw deep in Accrington’s half, Sorinola eventually shifted onto his right and delivered an in-swinging cross for Jerome, who spotted gap between two Stanley defenders and surged through to prod home a second. 2-0.
The two-goal lead lasted less than two minutes, however, with Charles pulling a goal back for the visitors after they had won possession deep in the Dons’ half. 2-1.
Charles was a target of left-wing cross from Smyth on the hour, which was cut out by a sliding Darling. That led to a corner, from which Accrington drew level courtesy of an unfortunate own goal by Surman, who inadvertently turned home a loose ball. 2-2.
That forced Martin into a double substitution, with Grigg and Thompson both coming off the bench. Thompson was involved in providing Sorinola with a shooting opportunity – one which he took, but fired over.
Smyth shot wide as Accrington threatened a third with a quarter of an hour to play. Martin then made his third change, with Joe Mason replacing Surman.
With 11 minutes to play, the Dons were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the D for a foul on Fraser as he looked to pull the trigger. Fraser laid the free-kick off for O’Riley, whose effort was deflected just wide. Mason also has a shot deflected - this one into the grateful arms of Savin.
Things looked to be heading towards being another frustrating afternoon for Martin and his Dons, but in the second minute of stoppage time, they found a deserved winning goal.
After some good build-up, it was Sorinola, again, who delivered the cross and his ball was inch-perfect for O’Riley to head home the decider past Savin - some way to score his first goal at Stadium MK. 3-2.
MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, McEachran (Thompson 66), Darling, Fraser, Laird, O’Hora, Surman (Mason 78), O’Riley, Sorinola, Jerome (Grigg 65).
Subs: Nicholls, Jules, Harvie, Houghton.
Goals: Jerome (6, 55), O’Riley (90+2)
Accrington Stanley: Savin, Nottingham, Hughes, Burgess, Butcher (Phillips 19), Smyth, McConville, Barclay, Rodgers, Charles, Morgan.
Subs: Isherwood, Russell, Maguire, Scully, Perrritt, Martin.
Goal: Charles (57), Surman OG (62)
Booked: Smyth, Burgess, Barclay, Rodgers, Morgan
Referee: D Whitestone.